I'm always big on small steps and not overlooking achievements regardless of how small they may seem. With that said, I think the basketball team took a huge step in their comeback victory against Iowa State. A lot of the guys on the floor are young and for them to believe in something it has to be done first. In other words, they needed to prove to themselves that they could claw back into a game and achieve victory despite the odds stacked up against them. Down nine points with under three minutes left? Down six points with only a minute left? Those are pretty tough situations to overcome but this team did it. More importantly, now they know they can.
A bit more after the jump.
This team saw two heartbreaking losses right before this win. They couldn't hold leads against A&M or Colorado. They needed this win to forget about those losses. Primarily, they needed to know that even when things looked bad, they needed to keep fighting. Against A&M and Colorado, it seemed like the Pokes lost their will to fight in the last five minutes of each match. Had they done the same against Iowa State, this season may have been lost simply because they would have been defeated mentally. But they didn't. They found a spark. Maybe it was the crowd, maybe it was the coaches, or maybe it was the veteran leaders of the team. In any case, everything came together and there was an intensity for the last three to four minutes of regulation that elevated OSU's play.
Want to talk about ditching the "rookie" label? Talk about Jean-Paul Olukemi. Here's a guy who scored a game high 29 points and none of those points more important than the layup with a converted freethrow attempt to bring the game within three with under a minute to go.
Want to talk about leadership? Talk about Keiton Page. A five foot nothing white boy ties the game up with a clutch three pointer with less than thirty seconds left in regulation. He then takes a charge on the other end of the court to end any chance Iowa State may have had to win the game at the last second.
We can talk about heart. Roger Franklin is a guy that should make EVERYONE appreciate their minutes on the floor. Against Iowa State he scored a career high 13 points and grabbed 7 rebounds. It may as well have been 30 and 15.
The point is that this win gives the Cowboys the confidence that games are never out of reach. Key players step up and it rubs off on their teammates. What is important now is that OSU carries this momentum and builds on it going forward. There isn't a better time to start than on the road this weekend at Baylor.